When William Crooks got a text message in which his son confessed ‘I killed Mom,’ he thought it was a joke. ‘Ok,’ Crooks replied. ‘Just throw her in the grove. We’ll take care of her later.’ This according to testimony Crooks, 41, gave in Wright County District Court in Clarion, Iowa Friday night.
Son Noah Crooks, 14, stands accused of murdering and attempting to sexually assault his mother, William’s wife, 37-year-old Gretchen Crooks in 2012. The full message Noah sent the night of March 24 read ‘Dad this is Noah. I killed Mom accidentally. I regret it. Come home now please.’
William was away from the family’s rural home at the time. Mitchell County Deputy Jeff Huftalin later called the older Crooks and told him there had been an accident.
In the 911 recording made on the night of the murder at the family’s Osage home, Noah Crooks could be heard telling dispatcher: ‘I’m not joking at all. She’s dead. I’m scared. I killed my mom with my .22. I don’t know why I did it.’
‘I feel crazy and I know I’m not. I think I have some form of ADD,’ Crooks told the 911 operator. ‘I tried to rape her. I tried to rape her but I couldn’t do it. ‘Who tries to rape their own mom? My life is down the drain now.’
The 911 call, heard by the trial’s jury on May 3, continued: ‘I just wish it was a dream so I could wake up and I could kiss her and hug her,’ Noah is heard saying in the recording. Noah rambled on about his mother making him homemade doughnuts earlier that night and expressed disbelief that he killed her after she did that for him.
He then revealed that Gretchen Crooks had taken away his Call of Duty video game because he got bad grades in school, and that is when he snapped. ‘Something just came over me,’ he told the dispatcher. Noah was 13 at the time of the death and is being tried as a youthful offender. That means he would stay under the supervision of the judicial system past his 18th birthday.
In his testimony, Mr Crooks added that the mother and son would fight often, but later make up. She was the one who bought the .22 caliber Ruger as a present for Noah in 2010 when he was about 11 years old. There was no history of domestic abuse or criminal records associated with any Crooks family members.
William Crooks said his wife was the disciplinarian of the family, which led to some fights between his wife and son. ‘They’d have their issues but then the next minute they’d play games together,’ he said. Williams Crooks said his son once told him he wanted to kill his mother, but he didn’t take it seriously. ‘I guess I didn’t take it as a threat at the time,’ he said.